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About Deviant Member Rae KendrinCanada Recent Activity
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Alright. It's true. I haven't posted any tutorials here -- not even on how to make nifty Photoshop brushes, which would seem to be a logical subject for me. Nonetheless, in another life, I was a technical skills trainer for a brief period of time. And during that time, I learned a thing or two about communicating knowledge and expertise in a subject. 

Now, whenever I see a tutorial here on dA, I'll often stop to check it out. After all, you never know what tips or tricks another artist might have that may be useful in your own work. Even a new artist may have a good insight or two that can be helpful to others.

One thing I've noticed, however, is that many tutorial writers tend to be exceptionally apologetic about their work -- either in the tutorial itself or in the description they add to it when they upload it. My advice to them, in short, is: Stop that. 

Now, let me elaborate.

Never apologize for your best effort. Never.

As artists we are, by nature, self-critical. Often excessively self-critical. After all, we each know what we were actually trying to accomplish. Most of the time, we have very clear visions in our heads as to what we want to produce. And often, particularly when we're still learning, what we produce in the real world is very different from what we see in our heads. It can be very, very frustrating. And it can cause us to doubt our skills and abilities -- or even our worth, which is far worse -- as artists.

But, here's the thing: Our audience has no idea what the visions in our heads actually look like -- or sound like, in the case of less-visual arts. They have nothing to compare it against, other than their own experiences. And we have no idea what those experiences may be. 

Of course, given the nature of tutorials, it's safe to assume that any tutorial posted here on dA is aimed at and will be viewed by people interested in learning about art. That's the whole point, isn't it? We create tutorials on art techniques to share them with other artists, so they can see what we do and how we do it, with the hope it will be helpful to them. It's a way of giving back. 

But, when you post a tutorial that's full of "Wow, I really suck at this," or "Superbad tutorial is super bad" style comments you completely undermine the offering you're making. There's a difference between humility and low confidence. Those sorts of comments indicate low confidence, not humility. 

I'm not saying you have to pretend to be a certified expert. It's perfectly fine to preface your offering with "I'm still learning, but this is how I do this," or "There are other ways to do this, but the one that works for me is..." That's fine. You can even add a "Your mileage may vary" disclaimer, if you feel the need. After all, every artist is different and what works really well for one person may not work so well for others. 

But there is absolutely no reason to apologize for sharing what you know the best way you know how. 

If you're concerned that your tutorial isn't as well-executed as you'd like, that's okay. There is no reason you can't ask for a proper critique on the tutorial itself (not the technique it's demonstrating). Heck, ask me, if you want. I'll be happy to tell you both what I think works and how I think you can improve it -- based on my experience as a technical skills trainer. 

Even if you don't want a full critique, there's nothing wrong with saying something like, "If there's something in this tutorial that isn't as clear as it could be, please let me know in the comments below and I'll try to answer your questions." (But, if you do that, make darn sure you follow through and actually respond to those comments and questions.) 


Pro tip: You can use the questions and comments you receive as guidance on how to improve future tutorials. And, remember, dA has a nifty 'update' feature, so you can always re-upload your tutorial with a new and improved version, whenever you want.


Finally, consider this: 

If the tutorial you're uploading isn't your best effort at explaining something, why are you uploading it? Most people will overlook the flaws in any uploaded piece of work -- tutorial, image, or otherwise -- providing they are assured it is your best effort. I know I will, anyway. 

The fact is, even the most experienced artists on dA -- the ones that produce those seemingly flawless, incredibly detailed pieces of art that you just "know" you'll never, ever be able to match -- believe they're still learning and can see all the flaws in their own work, things they'd like to improve. Even they face crises of confidence, days when they believe they'll never be as good as the artists they admire. It's human nature. So, it's perfectly okay to struggle with feelings of self-doubt and inadequacy. The trick is to keep those feelings from taking over and defining you. 

The best way to do that is to continually put out your best effort and to realize that the best you can do is always okay, because -- and here's the kicker -- every time you do your very best, you will improve, even if it's just a tiny bit. And, over the years, you'll be able to look back and see those improvements. 

Ever seen a growth chart notched into a kitchen doorframe by proud parents measuring their children's height at each birthday so they can show how much they've grown? It's the same thing. As you look back across your portfolio, you'll be able to see how you've grown and improved as an artist over time. And, trust me on this, as long as you always put out your best effort, you'll never be completely embarrassed by your old work. You'll be able to say, "Sure, it looks bad, now, but at the time it was the best I could do and I was proud of it."

That goes a long way to keeping low confidence at bay. 

So, please. Stop apologizing for the work you put out there, and stop telling us that your tutorials suck. After all, if they suck, why should we bother reading them? You want us to read them, don't you? Isn't that the point? Otherwise, why waste your time making it?

Thanks.


PS: If you want to learn how to give a useful critique, check out Matt Kohr's video on the subject at:


Matt's whole site is a gold mine of great techniques and information for the budding digital artist.

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:iconsaecasm101:
Saecasm101 Featured By Owner Aug 20, 2014  Student Traditional Artist
Hey it's Trystin!
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:iconkendrin:
kendrin Featured By Owner Aug 20, 2014
Hey, kiddo. :)
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:iconsaecasm101:
Saecasm101 Featured By Owner Aug 20, 2014  Student Traditional Artist
It's been quite a while since we have talked hasn't it?
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:iconkendrin:
kendrin Featured By Owner Aug 20, 2014
Lil' bit, yeah. ;)
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(1 Reply)
:iconmalaladanila:
malaladanila Featured By Owner Jul 1, 2013
Thank you so much for the favourite!
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